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Full text of "The pleasures of possession;"

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PLEASURES OF POSSESSION. 



T. C. Rickman, Printer, 
Upper Marj-le-Bone Street. 



THE 

I 

PLEASURES OF POSSESSION; 

OR, 

THE ENJOYMENT OF 
THE PRESENT MOMENT 

Contrasted with those of 

If ope anfc a^emosp, 

A POEM. 
BY CHARLES VERRAL. 



" Who of man's race is immortal ? 
He who fixes moments and gives perennity to transitory things." 

LA.VATER. 

Not joys in prospect, JOYS POSSEST I sing; 
Substantial joys that yield a brighter glow 
Than all that HOPE or MEMORY can .bestow. 




— ■=»« )( 8 ta. ■ 

lofflwn : 

PRINTED BY AND FOR CLIO RICKMAX, 

UPPER MARY-LE-BONE-STREET ; 

AND TO BE HAD OF ALL BOOKSELLERS. 

1810. 






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PREFACE. 



< c Who of man's race is immortal ?" says LA- 
VATER : "He who fixes moments and gives 
perennity to transitory things." To lead the rea- 
der to this path of immortality is the object of 
the following poem; and those, who consider 
how much of this life is wasted in useless recol- 
lections of the past, or in delusive anticipations 
of the future, will not think it an object either 
deficient in importance or incapable of affording 
instruction. 



VI 



The PLEASURES OF POSSESSION may 

with propriety be divided into two distinct 
classes;— the SOCIAL PLEASURES, or those 
for which we are dependent on others; and the 
MENTAL PLEASURES, or those which 
arise more purely from the actions or emotions 
of our own minds. Each of these classes I have 
airain subdivided. The first class consists of those 
pleasures which arise from the various amuse- 
ments of soeiefy, and of those which are pro- 
duced by the virtuous exercise of the passions 
and affections. — The second class consists of the 
pleasures arising from the acquisition of wisdom 
and the exertion of the genius, and of those 
which are occasioned by the active exercise of 
virtue. 

The two divisions which constitute the first 



PREFACE. Vll 



class are the whole that are now presented to the 
reader ; — those of the second class are intended 
to form the third and fourth parts of the poem : 
but, as poetry is the amusement, not the profes- 
sion of the author, it may be long before his de- 
sign is concluded. The two first parts how- 
ever are in themselves complete, and, as they 
form a poem longer than either of those of which 
it is intended to be (he counterpart, I have ven- 
tured thus to present it to the public. 

There are some peculiarities in the mode of 
printing the following work, the cause of which 
it may be necessary for me to explain. And 
here Mr. Barlow, the author of the Colum- 
biad, has saved rac much trouble, and I must 
refer the reader to the postscript of that admir- 
able poem, for t\\Q reasons which induced him 



Till PREFACE. 



to adopt that mode of spelling, and those rules 
for the elision of the final syllable in the past 
tense of verbs, iu which I have thought it ad- 
visable to follow him. 



re- 

a 



Mr. Barlow, however, lias said but little 
spectingthe use of the apostrophe, and it is 
topic not undeserving attention. — A frequent 
practice of reading aloud has given me some 
ideas on the subject which I believe to be new, 
and has convinced me how inadequate the pre- 
sent method of using it is to give explicitness 
and beauty to the language. — There is scarcely 
a work which docs not exhibit frequent proofs 
of it's being used unnecessarily and even im- 
properly, while in some works it is often most 
improperly omitted. The following instances, 
almost the whole of which are taken from a 



IX 



single page of Cowper's Homer, will prove 
very forcibly the truth of these observations — 

"Then spread th' unsullied canvas to the gale 

" And the wind filled it. Roared the sable flood." 

I should have written " the unsullied" for a rea- 
son which I shall give hereafter; but most 
clearly it ought to have been " fili'd," " roar'd." 
" Consum'd his hours." — 

Here the abbreviation is manifestly improper, as 
by striking the final e from the word consume 
the pronunciation is completely altered. 

" Thou hast enjoyned me" — 
It should have been " enjoy n'd," as the " ed" 
forms a complete additional syllable where the 
verb has not the final e. 

The apostrophe is continually given, as I 



PREFACE. 



think, unnecessarily, in such words as thund'rer, 
heav'n, &c tho the word heavenly is spelt at 
length, as forming only two syllables. 

In the editions of Milton we continually 
meet with errors of the same description. 

** Thou mad'st the night" — 
The word made here is converted into mad. 

" Strict laws impos'd" 
is improper for the same reason. The speech of 
Mammon in the second book, contains the fol- 
lowing incongruities : 

— — — " His altar breathes 

" Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers, 

" Our servile offerings. This must be our task 

" In Heaven; this our delight;" — 

— — — " deep thunders roar 

" Must' ring their rage, and heav'n resembles hell." 



rnr.FACE. xi 



"Why should " must'ring" and " heav'n" be ab- 
breviated, -when " flowers," " offerings" and 
H heaven" are given at length ? 

The perfect elision of a syllable before a word 
beginning with a vowel, gives often so great a 
degree of harshness to the diction, that the most 
elegant readers adopt a method of throwing the 
two sounds into one, as if they formed a diph- 
thong. I have therefore preferred writing the 
words at length, as " The immortal lyre" — " or 
this to avoid" — " Be ityour's in turn" — instead 
of th' immortal lyre — or this t'avoid — Be'tyour's 
in turn, &c. &c. — trusting that the ear and 
judgment of the reader will direct him thus to 
throw the two sounds together, where the metre 
forbids them to be given as two distinct sylla- 
bles. There is one case in which this method 



XII PHEFACE. 



has been universally adopted, even tho the apos- 
trophe has never been given at all. The words 
" many a" we constantly read in this way, giv- 
ing the sound of three syllables but the time of 
two only. 

" Full many a gem of purest ray serene" — 
" Full many a flower is born to blush unseen." 

thus 1 have written " the immortal lyre" — " or 
this to avoid" — " be it vour's in turn," without 
using the apostrophe. 

Another class of words, which, if properly 
employed, will contribute greatly to the variety 
and beauty of our poetry, is to be found in those 
where a long syllable is followed immediately 
by two short ones, as wandering, adventurous, 
evening, sickening, revelling, thunderer, pity- 
ing, varying, &c. As the perfect elision of the 



PREFACE. XUl 



second syllable would give great harshness to all 
these words, and in the two last would be ma- 
nifestly improper, I have always written them 
at length, and in reading would always throw 
the two last syllables together, so as to give them 
the time of one only. — In these instances, as no 
person attentive to the music of his verses would 
introduce them as three full syllables, no con- 
fusion can arise from the entire omission of the 
apostrophe. This practice must only be follow- 
ed where the two final syllables are either not 
separated by a consonant at all, or separated 
only by a semi-vowel or liquid letter. The 
same observations will apply to another set of 
words, where a Jong syllable is followed, with- 
out an intervening consonant, by a short one, as 
power, flower, or when it is followed by the 
very weak syllable tn y as heaven, even, fallen. — 



l'KEFACE. 



Such words are rendered unmusical by lengthen- 
ing them into two, or cutting them down com- 
pletely into one syllable ; I would read them 
therefore in the manner I stated above, and 
would always write them without the apostro- 
phe. If a mute instead of a semi- vowel divides 
the syllables, they will not admit of this mode 
of abbreviation ; thus laden, hasten, lighten, 
must be given as two syllables. — From not un- 
derstanding the above rules, and from a desire 
of appearing to be very correct, some persons 
have fallen into the egregious error of writing 
di'mond, gcn'al, nutr'ent, fi'ry, &c. 

I cannot conclude this preface without ac- 
knowledging that 1 am indebted for my subject 
to Mr. Clio Rickman, the author of " the 
Fallen Cottage," " Corruption," &c. He is the 



PREFACE. XV* 



friendly bard alluded to in the beginning of the 
work, whose address is in truth an epitome of 
that conversation which induced me to attempt 
the poem, and made me a convert to the 
Pleasures of Possession. 



THE PLEASURES 



OF 



POSSESSION. 



PART I. 



Go airy triflers, flutter life away ; 

Fill, with fresh juice, the mantling goblet high; 
Weave the light dauce, with festive freedom gay, 

And live your moment ; for the next you die. 



Voltaire. 



ANALYSIS 



THE FIRST PART. 



The Poem commences with a short introduction, 
which leads to a description of the pleasures arising 
from Memory and Hope. The author, indulging 
in their illusive visions, is reproved by a friendly 
Bard, and, fired by his address, proposes the sub- 
ject of the poem. The first part describes the 
pleasures which arise from the various amusements 
jof society. 



ANALYSIS OP 



The pleasures of high life have seldom been 
the subject of poetry. Their want of simplicity is 
one reason for this ; but poets have indulged in 
a strain of invective against them, in which there 
is much truth. The author proceeds to enume- 
rate these invectives, and to describe the vices 
which are most frequent among the great. — Wealth 
incapable of giving pleasure, unless accompanied 
by health, and peace of mind, and simplicity of 
heart. 

A description of a festive party; Conrersation — 
Songs — Recitation — A Ball — The dissipated, the 
proud, the affected incapable of sharing the plea- 
sures of the scene. Address to simplicity. — A lover 
dancing with his mistress concludes the description 
of the pleasures of high life. 



THE FIRST PART. 



The pleasures of the humbler classes of society 
begin with the description of a harvest home. — The 
harvest supper. — An appeal to the rich and the 
powerful in favour of the poor and the industrious, 
and an enumeration of the comforts of which theii 
situations will admit. — The pauper's miserable hut 
is reluctantly described. — Contentment, flying from 
her once favorite haunts, is implored to return and 
to bring back with her the virtues that once cheered 
the peasant's cottage. — Extreme poverty is proved 
to be the cause of vice as well as misery. Recurring 
again to the subject of pleasure, a happier state of 
society is supposed. — The peasant returning from 
labor. — May-day. — A dance on the green. — An 
apostrophe to Grandeur, and the description of 
a village fair conclude the pleasures of humble 
life. 



ANALYSIS. 



The votaries of superstition are addrest. — Their 
gloomy pictures of the Deity are proved to be false 
by the beauty and gaiety of nature. — Man will best 
please the creator by receiving and rejoicing in his 
bounty ; but, lest he should err by plunging into 
excess, the powers of gluttony, drunkenness, gam- 
ins: and seduction are bidden to absent themselves 
from his amusements, as being destructive to that 
true pleasure which it is the object of the poem to 
inculcate. 



THE 

PLEASURES 

OF 

POSSESSION. 

PART I. 

While venal bards the gifts of Heaven abuse. 
Debase the wit and prostitute the Muse ; 
While, dead to virtue, they devote their lays 
To pamper pride and chaunt the tyrant's praise ; 
While for the harlot's smile, the courtier's gold, 
Truth, honor and fair fame are basely sold, 
Till Vice is cloy'd, and all her demons dire, 
With the vile flatteries of the shameless lyre ; 



THE PLEASURES 



A youth steps forth, who oft, enraptured, woos 
In rural solitudes the gentle muse ; 
Who, taught by her, e'en from his earliest youth, 
Has loved the paths of virtue, peace and truth ; 
Spurning the gold that buys the senile lay, 
But fondly panting for a wreath of bay, 
Tho dimly glows his spark of heavenly fire, 
Tho poorly skill'd to tune the immortal lyre, 
His hand adventurous boldly strikes the string, 
The charms of virtue, peace and truth to sing. 

Tho sadly doom'd by fate's decree severe 
With care and toil to pass the lingering year ; 
Tho his rude lot no day of rest bestows, 
And robs his nights of undisturb'd repose ; 
Nay, harder still ! tho forced from those to part 
Whom fond affection twines around his heart, 



OF POSSESSION. 9 

And doom'd to dwell where no congenial breast 
Rewards his toils and lulls his cares to rest ; 
Yet still, ordain'd some beams of bliss to share, 
His soul resolved contends with grim despair ; 
And oft his Muse, inspired by visions gay, 
Light as the lark that welcomes in the day, 
Spite of the woes that still his soul annoy, 
Spreads her light wings and tunes her song to joy. 

To chase the glooms that overhang my soul, 
Kind Memory spreads her long recording roll, 
And bids the scenes in cheerful prospect rise, 
When yet my breast was nought inured to sighs; 
When, lightly bounding o'er my native soil, 
Unused to sorrow and unworn with toil, 
The youthful moments sped their gay career, 
And the Ions: smile atoned the transient tear. 



10 THE PLEASURES 






And thou, sweet maid! thou, Hope, enchantress 

bright ! 
Fill'st my young soul with many a new delight ; 
Thy magic pencil, toucht with hues so gay, 
Gilds the dark future with a golden ray ; 
There Friendship glows, there fond Affection smiles. 
There playful Love awakes his wanton wiles, 
The sportive hours in sprightly train advance, 
While Joy's gay pipe inspires their lively dance, 
And smiling Fate, that all my woes may cease, 
Ordains Me health and competence and peace. 

These Nymphs I love, and love the gentle lays 
That tell their attributes and sing their praise : 
These Nymphs I love ; — but not to these belong 
My moral lesson and my Muse's song : 



OF POSSESSION. 11 



For once when, yielding to their soothing power, 
I past in pensive mood an idle hour, 
When my full soul the scenes of youth review'd, 
Or kindling- Hope's fantastic dreams pursued, 
A friendly Bard, who stood and markt my sighs, 
And watcht the eager glances of mine eyes ; 
Now saw my face assume the mask of woe, 
And now with joy's exulting features glow ; 
Love in his heart, but anger on his tongue, 
Reproved the source from whence my transports 
sprung. 

" For shame, inglorious youth ! from day to day 
" You sit and dream your idle hours away ; 
" While, loitering thus, your thoughts are back- 
ward cast 
" On scenes of pleasure now for ever past, 



12 THE PLEASURES 



" Or while the gilded future lures your eye, 

" Behold the PRESENT glides unheeded by. 

" Thus on, from hour to hour, from year to year, 

" While you shall sit and fondly linger here, 

" The pleasures past, whose loss you now deplore, 

" The pleasures past shall sure return no more ; 

" And e'en that future, long in thought pursued. 

" At length arriving shall your grasp elude ; 

" Till wan disease shall sadly rush between, 

" And age or death shall close the barren scene. 

" Awake, fond youth '.—to wisdom's voice attend, 

w Nor longer thus your days inactive spend. 

" Awake '.—arise !— be happy while you may ! — 

" Tu-morrow's Heaven's, your portion is TO-DAY; 

« Then turn from distant scenes your wandering eyes- 

« And catch the PRESENT MOMENT ere it flies." 



OF POSSESSION. ltf 



Roused at the sound, I started from my dream, 
And chose his admonition for my theme, 
I seized the lyre, I toucht the sounding string, — 
Not joys in prospect, JOYS POSSEST I sing; 
Substantial joys that yield a brighter glow 
Than all that HOPE or MEMORY can bestow. 

Sing first, my Muse, the pleasures that belong 
To social mirth ; the laugh, the dance, the song ; 
The friendly chat around the wintry fire, 
When cheerfulness and wit the soul inspire ; 
The rural games of lads and lasses gay, 
The Christmas gambols and the sports of May. 

Sad is the lot and short the date of man, 
But Wisdom cries, be happy while ye can, 



14 THE PLEASURES 



Promote the frolic, let the laugh prevail, 
Urge the light jest and tell the mirthful tale. 



Full many a bard his ready pen employs 
To celebrate the peasant's simple joys ; 
To sing of lowly cots and woodbine bowers, 
Of purling streams and meadows deckt with flowers ; 
But none invoke the Muse and frame the lay 
To sing the glories of the great and gay. 
And why is this ? Is pleasure only seen, 
Amid the dancers on the village green ? 
Does Happiness, with wealth at constant strife, 
Tread only in the humble walks of life ? 
Say, dazzled by the lustre's glittering rays, 
The burnish'd mirror, and the diamond's blaze, 
Has she for ever fled the lofty hall, 
The sumptuous banquet, and the splendid ball r 



OF POSSESSION. 15 



Does she from these to village scenes retire, 
To bless the group around the cottage fire, 
To cheer the poor Hibernian's lowly shed, 
And lull the Scot upon his heather bed ? 

So sing the bards, nor truth forbids the song, 
For Vice, full oft, and all her ghastly throng, 
O'er scenes of grandeur reign without controul, 
And banish peace and pleasure from the soul. 
There pamper'd Luxury, and lowering Pride, 
And ruthless Hate, and dark Distrust preside ; 
There sly Seduction dwells, and wild Desire, 
And Apathy that owns no kindling fire ; 
There dull Satiety, with languid air, 
Turns loathing from the feast she comes to share, 
While mad Ambition stalks unsocial by, 
Rage in his heart and terror in his eye ; 



16 THE PLEASURES 



There Treachery lurks, still watchful to beguile ; 
There Envy, sickening at another's smile, 
And Tyranny, with robes of purple dye, 
And Care, with haggard cheek and hollow eye, 
And Jealousy, and wan Disease, the child 
Of lawless Riot and Intemperance wild, 
Unlicensed roam, while Death, to crown the whole, 
Smiles at the feast and hovers round the bowl. 

Scared at the sight, the social pleasures fly, 
And seek a humbler home, a kinder sky. — 
Ye sons of wealth, of grandeur, and of power. 
Bid them return to cheer the festal hour ! — 
Bid them return ! — Oh, hear my warning lay, 
And chase the demons from your homes away ! 
For when your bosoms own their dark controul, 
When passion shakes, and conscience wounds the soul, 



OF POSSESSION. 



17 



When the frame sickens, when the heart is cold, 
How vain the glitter of your gems and gold ! 
You join the dance, awake the lively strain, 
And deck the hall, and spread the feast in vain ; 
The brightest scenes appear with glooms o'erhung, 
And nectar flows embitter'd o'er your tongue, 
In all your revels sombre thoughts arise, 
And many a sigh the studied smile belies. 



Thus do the bards the unvarying lay pursue ; 
Yet, tho experience proves their numbers true, 
The bards have err'd whose verses only flow 
To humble happiness and splendid woe. 
Let us vain Pomp and boasting Wealth deride, 
Curb lawless Power, and lash unfeeling Pride ; 
Let us the toils of low Contentment praise, 
Cheer suffering Worth, and down-trod Genius raise, 
c 



18 THE PLEASURES 



But let the Muse no partial wreaths decree ; 
Be it her's, unbiassed, generous, just, and free, 
To cherish Virtue wheresoe'er she dwell, 
In the King's palace or the Prisoner's cell. 
Such be my task — and, singing now of joy, 
Not humble scenes shall all my lays employ ; 
For some there are, who bask in fortune's smiles, 
Nor art corrupts, nor specious vice beguiles : 
Yes some there are — Oh hail the happy few ! 
With simple hearts to native feelings true ; 
And where the warm, the simple heart is found, 
There Virtue dwells and social joys abound. 

See the gay party round the festive board, 
With blushing fruits and wines delicious stored, 
Convivial mirth the swelling soul inspires, 
And each bright eye emits unwonted fires. 



OF POSSESSION. 19 



The sportive satirist the face adorns 
With playful smiles, but plants no rankling thorns 
Within the guileless bosom ; now the jest 
Bids the loud laugh convulsive shake the breast : 
Or now the song delights the listening ear, 
With tales of love, or draws the pitying tear, 
While Mary, dreaming on the banks of Dee, 
Sees the pale ghost of " Sandy far at sea" ; 
Or while the faithful tar, in plaintive lay, 
Laments his " Poll, the sweetest flower of May" ; 
While, with melodious voice and feelings warm, 
Some gallant son of Ocean sings " the Storm" ; 
While grieves the bard that " Lucy is no more", 
Or " Lubin's corse" floats pallid to the shore. 
And oft, unskilFd to tune the pleasing song, 
Some self-taught actor, rising mid the throng, 



20 THE PLEASURES 



Pourtrays, with gesture strange and droll grimace, 
Simkin's quaint thoughts, or Gilpin's luckless race. 
Or if a tragic part the player chuse, 
To harangue with Brutus, or with Hamlet muse, 
With wrong'd Othello say, " what drugs, what 

" charms" 
Won Desdemona to his sable arms ; 
Or should he tell of noble minds distrest, 
Of love unfavored, and of worth opprest, 
In all around responsive feelings rise, 
Their bosoms burn and tears bedew their eyes. 
Sweet are such feelings, sweet the tears that flow 
At songs of tenderness, and tales of woe ; 
With virtuous warmth they fill the glowing breast, 
And give to mirth and wit a keener zest. 



OF POSSESSION. 21 



But hark the music frames a sprightly air, 
I See for the dance the smiling throng prepare ; 
The diamond blazes, lightly waves the plume, 
And dazzling lustres chase the evening gloom. 
Light move their feet — the Caledonian song, 
Or Erin's measures lead the train alonar. 
Light move their feet~the bounding heart beats hi gh- 
And sparkling pleasure beams in beauty's eye. 

Far from the scene be all the giddy train, 
Who seek for bliss in riot's rude domain ! 
Who, pall'd with pleasure, dull and hollow eyed, 
Their haggard cheeks with mimic roses dyed, 
In constant revels wear the night away, 
And waste in sleep the balmy hours of day. 
Far from the scene the fop, whose studied air 
And smile conceited strive to charm the fair : 



THE PLEASURES 



Whose ready tongue, with mock-impassion'd tones, 
Avows a rapture that the heart disowns : 
Or he who, dull, pedantic, formal, proud, 
Would damp the pleasures of the smiling croud ; 
Who sits with vacant eye, and scornful mien, 
And yawns or murmurs at the cheerful scene. 
Nor let the vain, the haughty nymphs be there, 
Who only shine to conquer and ensnare; 
Who, skillM the head to toss, the eye to roll, 
And quell the fine emotions of the soul, 
Display their glaring charms, and proudly scorn 
The simple maid whom nature's hands adorn : 
Nor those who deign the pale and sallow hue, 
And deadly languor of disease to woo ; 
Whose fragile forms are taught with care to shun 
The freshening breezes and the cheering sun ; 



OF POSSESSION. 23 



Whose tender limbs no pleasing tasks employ ; 
Too feebly framed for scenes of earthly joy : 
While the gay train their active sports pursue, 
Hence, Affectation, hence with all thy crew ! 

But thou, Simplicity ! thou loveliest maid, 
Oh come, in all thy native charms array'd ! 
Thine is the soul that does not scorn to feel, 
And speaking eyes that every thought reveal, 
The lip that smiles, the heart that warmly glows, 
And cheeks that blushing mock the morning rose. 
With fond delight thy votaries will advance, 
Swell the gay group and thread the mazy dance ; 
Behold, with graceful steps the fair one moves, 
And every step her glowing charms improves ; 
A keener lustre sparkles in her eye, 
Her blooming cheek assumes a deeper die, 



2i THE PLEASURES 



In gayer smiles her ruby lips are drest, 
And, flusht with joy, more lightly heaves her breast. 
His partner fair the gentle youth admires, 
His manly breast responsive joy inspires, 
As gay his smiles, his eye as keenly glows, 
Like her's his blooming cheek outvies the rose ; 
And she, as lightly down the dance she strays, 
Feels his warm sigh, and meets his ardent gaze, 
And, sweetly blushing, downward turns her eye, 
Avoids the gaze, but gives him back the sigh : 
Ah ! what can MEMORY, what can HOPE bestow, 
To make the train the PRESENT HOUR forego ! 

Scenes of delight, that many a care atone, 
Oft has the bard your kindling raptures known ! 
And if he, pause amid the lively song, 
And turn his thoughts to days departed long, 



or possession. 25 



It is that sickening Memory will deplore, 
Joys once possest — possest, alas, no more ! 

But hence, ye mournful thoughts ! my cheerful 
Muse 
On wings untired her lively song pursues. 
Hark ! the glad fields with shouts triumphant ring ; 
Their last rich load the reapers homeward bring. 
Loud shout the peasants, loud the female train 
Shout, as they ride upon the loaded wain ; 
And, as the slow procession moves along, 
The village children, shouting, swell the throng ; 
Till the full barn receives the precious store, 
And the last labours of the year are o'er. 

Now let the south collect the potent blast, 
And with black clouds the face of heaven overcast ; 



26 THE PLEASURES 



Now let the rain in torrents pour around, 

And lightenings flash, and thunders rock the ground, 

Unmoved the farmer views the wild uproar, 

His corn secured, he heeds the storm no more. 

And now, ye masters! spread your genial stores. 

And open wide your hospitable doors ; 

And all that labor'd in your fields regale 

With nutrient food, and cheering draughts of ale. 

And should you chance among your friends to find, 

Some gentle soul, some lover of mankind, 

One whose warm heart can feel what others feel, 

Who loves their joys to share, their woes to heal, 

Let him be welcomed to your friendly dome, 

To share the pleasures of your harvest home. 

He with delight will join the lowly throng, 

And find sweet music in their simplest song ; 



OF POSSESSION. 



27 



Wild tho it strays from all the rules of art, 
By joy attuned, it vibrates on his heart, 
Which bounds with rapture, while his sparkling eye- 
See in each face the smile of gladness rise ; 
Still blest the more the more he sees them blest, 
He shares the laughter and provokes the jest. 
Now pleased he listens while the gentle swain, 
In secret whispers, pours the tender strain, 
Whose eager gaze his ardent love bespeaks, 
And bids new blushes deck the maiden's cheeks : 
Or while some veteran sits recounting o'er 
The lusty labors of the days of yore, 
How blithe he danced when daily toil was done, 
Or how the heart of black-eyed Nell he won. 



And Oh ! ye wealthy tenants of the soil, 
Who build your fortunes on the peasant's toil, 



28 THE PLEASURES 



Let not this night of mirth and plenteous cheer 
Be the sole solace of the laborer's year ! 
He guides your ploughs, he scatters in your seed, 
Reaps your ripe corn, and mows your waving mead, 
He braves for you the summer's scorching ray, 
And the wild horrors of the winter's day ; 
For you he daily quits his early bed, 
Ere the young morning tincts the east with red, 
And wields the spade, or plies the incessant flail, 
Till evening shadows spread along the vale ; 
Be it your's in turn his comforts to supply, 
And watch his wants with e'en a father's eye. 
Let his close cottage, neatly drest and warm, 
Laugh at the blustering of the wintry storm ; 
Give him, the waste of labor to repair, 
A meal of plenteous tho of homely fare ; 



OF POSSESSION. 



29 



Bid your rich woods a bounteous load bestow, 
To give his evening hearth a brighter glow ; 
Let his loved children, clad in clean attire, 
Smile in the presence of their smiling sire ; 
To crown the picture, let his days of rest 
Be doubly cheerful and be doubly blest; 
Let daintier food his Sunday's group regale, 
And crown his Christmas cup with sparkling ale. 



But cease, my Muse ! thy feeble calls are vain ; 
Thou canst not ease the sorrows of the swain ! 
More favor' d bards have sung, in loftier songs, 
The lord's oppressions and the peasant's wrongs, 
Yet still the mischief takes a firmer stand, 
And spreads more widely round the drooping land. 
E'en now, where'er I turn my indignant eyes, 
A thousand miserable hovels rise ; 



30 THE PLEASURES 



Their rugged roofs admit the driving snows, 
And through their walls the blast of winter blows ; 
Dark, foul, and cheerless, nought but cankering care 
And squalid wretchedness inhabit there. 

When, driven an exile from the splendid dome, 
The nymph Contentment sought a humbler home, 
Are these the cots in which, as poets tell, 
Array'd in rural garb she loved to dwell? 
From whence, when cheerful swains and blooming 

maids 
Danced on the green, or sung amid the shades, 
Thro meads and woodlands light at heart she ranged ? 
Are these the cots ?~Alas, how fallen ! how changed !-- 

Return, sweet nymph, to bless the smiling plain > 
And cheer the cotter's honest heart again ! 



OF POSSESSION. 



31 



Return, sweet nymph, and bid with thee return 
The powers whose loss the sylvan muses mourn ! 
For when dire Penury's pestilential breath 
O'er the fair region spread the gloom of death ; 
When, with her spells, the peasant pined away, 
And his loved cottage sunk to sad decay , 
Thou fled'st, and rosy Health and social Glee, 
And all the rural virtues fled with thee; 
Virtues that scorn the courtier's specious guile, 
Scorn the fair summer of a prince's smile, 
And love the rustic's hardy breast to warm, 
Cheer the wild waste, and flourish in the storm. 



Stern Independence, long the peasant's guest, 
First of the train and nurse of all the rest, 
And Truth, and Friendship, hospitably warm, 
And Prudence, mindful of the coming storm, 



32 THE PLEASURES 



And honest Love, with Chastity his guide, 
(The maiden's safeguard and the matron's pride,) 
And cheerful Industry and all the powers 
That warm and charm the sweet domestic hours, 
These, scared by Penury, from the cottage fled, 
And Vice and Woe there settled in their stead. 
So the tall pine-trees climb the hill and shun 
The warm effulgence of the southern sun, 
Cleave to the pole and deck the frozen scene 
With waving woods of never fading green, 
But where too fiercely blows the wintry gale, 
Where the bleak hill unceasing storms assail, 
From thence they fly, or rudely planted there, 
Lost is their beauty and their branches bare. 

The wretched spouse beholds without delight, 
The swain returning from his toils at night, 



OF POSSESSION. 33 



The swain, returned, beholds his wretched spouse, 
And loathes her hollow cheeks and lowering brows : 
He sees his children, like a host of foes, 
Destroy his comforts, break his short repose, 
Eat the hard earnings of his wearied hands, 
And drink the cup his fever'd lip demands : 
No joys can Memory, none can Hope bestow, 
To ease the weight of present want and woe. 

Warn'd by his father's hapless fate, the son 
The hallow'd nuptial knot resolves to shun ; 
But stubborn Nature will exert her power, 
And raging flames his peace of mind devour : 
Then the warm heart, true tongue and artless smile 
Give place to lawless lust and treacherous guile, 
Till in sad hour, despoil'd her maiden charms, 
Some luckless victim fills his conquering- arms. 

D 



34 THE PLEASURES 



Then oft by force the nuptial band is tied, 
A sated bridegroom and a sullied bride ; 
Or this to avoid the stern, relentless swain 
Breaks his warm vows, and flies his native plain. 
What dreadful woes succeed ! His treacherous tales i 
Alas ! too late, the hapless Maid bewails : 
Then Shame, Despair, and Lamentation dire, 
And Rage, and Madness, with her eyes of fire, 
And Murder, reeking with an infant's gore 
And yelling Furies haunt the cottage door. 

Oh close the picture ! — Powers of joy and peace, 
Return, return, to bid our sorrows cease ! 
Return, Content, with all thy lovely train. 
And bid the sylvan Muses smile again. 



OF POSSESSION. 35 

When the worn laborers from their toils retire, 
And take their seats beside the blazing fire, 
Nor heed, defended by their castle walls, 
The blast that blusters, or the snow that falls ; 
! While their fond wives, with kind officious care, 
Spread the neat cloth and serve their wholesome fare, 
While their lov'd children, full of health and glee, 
Sport at their side, or fondly climb their knee, 
Come, sweet Content, oh come, their souls to cheer, 
To them their children, wives and homes endear ! 

And, loveliest nymph ! when april's gentle showers 
Have fiird the lap of blooming may with flowers, 
When village maidens hail the rosy dawn, 
And cull the treasures of the fragrant lawn, 
May'st thou be seen amid the smiling throng, 
To weave thy garland, and to sing thy song ! 



86 THE PLEASURES 



And when at eve the lowly train are seen, 
In brilliant order, ranged along the green, 
When, to light measures, down the dance they move, 
Do thou the sweetness of their smiles improve, 
Flush their warm cheeks, and fill their eyes with fire, 
And let pure flames the peasant's heart inspire, 
That when the maid has heard his tender tale, 



And told him, blushing, how his vows prevail, 
The nuptial knot may soon with joy be tied, 
And give his lowly couch a virgin bride. 

And, sweet Content ! when honest RICHARD lead* 
His faithful KATE across the flowery meads, 
And hastes exulting to the village fair, 
To meet his sons and blooming daughters there, 
To chase all sorrow from the smiling day, 
Be thou the sweet companion of his way! — 






OF POSSESSION. 



37 



Oh turn not, Grandeur with malignant eyes, 
While in my page these humble joys arise ! 
Spurn not the lay, nor treat with proud disdain 

| The simple pleasures of the lowly swain ; 

I Nor scorn the bard whose sympathizing breast 
Burns with delight to see his fellows blest ! 
Whene'er your fretted roofs of various dyes 
Can match the glowing grandeur of the skies, 
Whene'er your richest carpets can exceed 
The varied beauties of the flowery mead, 
Then, nor till then, the sons of pomp and pride 
May Nature's hallow'd charms unblamed deride : 
Then native cheerfulness and buxom health 
Shall yield the palm to luxury and wealth; 
Then will the bard his servile pen employ 
To crush the swain and damp his rural joy. 



38 THE PLEASURES 



Fair is the scene, behold how bright on high 
The sun rolls on, majestic, thro the sky ! 
How gay a verdure clothes the lofty trees ! 
Beneath their shade how sweetly blows the breeze I 
How rich the scent a thousand flowerets yield, 
That grace the hedge rows and adorn the field ! 
How fair the hills that raise their heads so high ! 
How clear the stream that flows in silence by ! 
How bright the distant scene that stays the wan- 
dering eye ! 

Clad in their best attire, a cheerful throng 
From many a neighbouring hamlet pour along ; 
The pining cares that vex the troubled mind, 
And grief, and wearying toil are left behind ; 
No lowering visage haunts our village fair, 
No tearful eye nor sorrowing heart is there. 



OF POSSESSION. 39 



Mirth gleams in every face ; the smiling train 
Rest in the shade or gambol o'er the plain ; 
At once the tale, the song, the can go round, 
And all the fields with joyful shouts resound : 
There Sport presides, and Mirth with heavenly smile, 
And Innocence that never heard of guile, 
And rosy Health, and sweet Contentment fair, 
To courts a stranger, lightly frolic there 
With lads as honest, and with hearts as warm, 
And nymphs as fair in feature and in form 
As those the crowded park who gayly rove, 
Grace the rich box or fill the bright alcove* 

Forbear, ye tyrants of the mind, forbear 
To teach that man is doomed to nought but care ! 
That angry Heaven ordain'd us here below 
A melancholy life of want and woe ! 



40 THE PLEASURES 



Drawn by your pens, a dreadful scene appears, 
A God in thunders and a world in tears ; 
The face of heaven the glooms of midnight shroud, 
And wrath in lightning bursts the bellowing cloud r 
On earth remorseless vengeance bathes in blood, 
Beneath hell yawns and rolls her fiery flood. 

Scared at the sight, the spirit sinks opprest, 
Grief pales the cheek and terror rends the breast r 
Forbear, ye tyrants of the human mind, 
With scenes of horror thus to affright mankind ! 
The picture's false : ten thousand proofs arise 
To justify the ALL GREAT, ALL GOOD, ALL 

WISE : 
Nature, who mocks your high imperial nod, 
Nature stands forth to vindicate her God. 



OF POSSESSION. 41 



At his command the glorious orb of day 
Makes glad the nations with his golden ray ; 
At his command the silvery planets rise, 
And sparkling stars adorn the glowing skies ; 
The hills, the vales he clothes with lively green, 
He decks with many a charm the woodland scene ; 
Myriads of flowers enrich the smiling field ; 
Myriads of fruits the loaded branches yield; 
The flocks, the herds in verdant pastures play, 
And songs of gladness ring from every spray ; 
All, all the world rejoices and is glad, — 

Is MAN alone created to be sad ? 

Ah no ! — to raise the cheerful voice of mirth, 
And join the chorus of the exulting earth, 
Will please the Power who gave the bounteous store, 
And, giving, thus proclaim' d *' To enjoy is to 

" ADORE." 



42 THE PLEASURES 



Then let our sounds of gratulation rise, 
And shouts of pleasure climb the approving skies, 
Let the wide world one general anthem raise — 
The voice of GLADNESS is the voice of PRAISE 

Demons of darkness ! ye, who lead astray 
The mind of man from virtue's hallowM way ! 
Ye, the pall'd appetite who strive to please, 
To sate the pamper'd victims of disease ! 
Who store, with baneful luxuries, the feast, 
And all the spicy poisons of the east ! 
Or ye, who, hovering o'er the midnight bowl, 
Infuse the spell that fires the frantic soul 
With boisterous madness [ — ye, who, secret, fly 
O'er the light card, and guide the rolling die, 
And swell with triumph while the eventful game 
Deals round despair, and poverty, and shame ! 



OF POSSESSION. 43 



Or ye, who, lurking in the flatterer's smile, 
The heart of simple innocence beguile, 
Who frame the tale that drags the hapless fair 
From peace and virtue, down to guilt and care ! 
Where e'er ye roam, to lure us and destroy, 
■ A vaunt ! — nor dare pollute our scenes of joy ! 

Those glo«my fiends, in iron chains who bind, 
And rule with ebon wands the human mind, 
Who, in the cheerless hut of Avarice dwell, 
Or lurk in Superstition's haunted cell ; 
Who bid the scowling monk, the pallid nun, 
Nature's great laws and best delights to shun ; 
Who bid the tear of deep despondence flow, 
And craze the brain with thoughts of endless woe ; 
E'en these are not more adverse to the joys, 
To that TRUE PLEASURE which my pen employs, 






44 THE PLEASURES OF POSSESSION. 

Than ye, with smiles adorn' d and clothed in gold, 
Who Dissipation's glaring throne uphold, 
And lure away the poor unguarded youth 
Far from the peaceful paths of Temperance and 
Truth. 



END OF THE FIRST PART. 



THE PLEASURES 

OF 

POSSESSION. 



PART II. 



— — — — " Throw years away ? 

" Throw empires and be blameless. Moments seize ; 

" Heaven's on their wing. — — — — 

" Nature, in zeal for human amity, 

" Denies or damps an undivided joy. 

" Joy is an import ; joy is an exchange ; 

M Joy flies monopolists ; it calls for two ; 

" Rich fruit! Heaven planted! never pluckt by one. 

" Delight intense is taken by rebound : 

" Reverberated pleasures fire the breast." 

Young. 



47 



ANALYSIS 



THE SECOND PART. 



By observing the gaiety and cheerfulness which 
reign in the works of nature, we are led to reject 
the doctrines of those who forbid us to indulge in 
the scenes of social mirth which the first part has 
been occupied in describing. Yet in the midst of 
our pleasures let it not be forgotten that youth and 
health are fleeting, and that men, dependant upon 



48 ANALYSIS OF 



each other for almost all the enjoyments of life, 
must become doubly dependant when age and 
sickness arrive. But these reflections need not 
make us melancholy; for from this very depen- 
dance proceeds a second and a higher class of 
pleasures, those which are produced by the virtu- 
ous exercise of the passions and affections, which 
form the subject of the second part of the poem. 

Filial love, it's blessings, and the merited punish- 
ment of those who reject its influence, are first de- 
scribed, and it's pleasures are exemplified in the 
tale of an affectionate daughter receiving the bles- 
sing of her venerable father. 

Apostrophe to parental love. The numerous 



THE SECOND PART. 49 

cares and anxieties of parents are recompensed by 
the smiles and gentle blandishments of their chil- 
dren. The tale of Alicia describes the natural 
punishment of careless and inattentive parents, 
while that of Cordelia exemplifies the pleasures 
that arise from parental love. 

An address to fraternal love. The visit of a be- 
loved sister affords the author an opportunity of 
feelingly describing its pleasures. 

Connubial love. It's pleasures are not to be sung 
but by those to whom they are known, among 
which number the author cherishes the hope of 
being: soon received. 



50 



ANALYSIS. 



Apostrophe to Friendship. The wise and the 
good are it's votaries, while it's enemies are found 
among the frivolous and the worldly-minded. 
Friendship heightens the pleasures, and alleviates 
the miseries of mankind. 



Love. True and virtuous love is to be distin- 
guisht from the merely sensual passion. — Hymn to 
Love. — The pleasures of successful love are greatly 
superior to those of Hope or Memory. — A rural love- 
scene.— The sailor— -The tale of HENRY and 
ANNA exemplifies the triumphs of present plea- 
sure, and concludes the second part of the poem. 






51 

THE 

PLEASURES 

OF 

POSSESSION. 

PART II. 



1 hus far my Muse has wing'd her airy way, 
And sung of social mirth in lively lay ; 
And now let frantic zealots loudly rage, 
And canting hypocrites condemn the page ; 
Let sombre moralists, with spleen opprest, 
Praise the dark visage and the heaving breast ; 
I still, unchanged, will tune my cheerful strain, 
Nor cease to laugh while health and peace remain. 



52 THE PLEASURES 



See Joy around us trips with sprightly air, 
Shakes her blue wings and dancing waves her hair ; 
See sportive Fancy wreathes her woodbine bowers, 
Paints the light clouds, and strews the plain with 

flowers ; 
See Mirth the meads, the hills, the woods among, 
In various shapes, attunes a general song, 
Now pipes— ablack-bird, sings — a goldfinch gay, 
Now soars — a skylark, thro the fields of day ; 
See ruddy Sport enlivens all the scene, 
And wakes the dances of the smiling green ; 
Bids the stout youth in manly games engage, 
And gives new vigor to the limbs of age. 
Turn, ye that will, from scenes of joy like this ! 
Ungrateful turn from nature and from bliss ! 
Prefer, to all that charms, to all that cheers, 
Your house of mourning and your vale of tears ; 



OF 1'OSSESSION. 53 



Still will the bard his lively lay prolong, 
And let no sorrows interrupt his song, 
Save when he thinks how rare on Britain's isle. 
Content and blooming Pleasure deign to smile, 
How few the comforts of the peasant's cot, 
And how his rural sports are all forgot. 

I 

But pause awhile, ye followers of my song, 
Who hail the moments as they fleet along ! 
Who laugh, who dance, who frolic, and who sing, 
Flushed with gay health in life's delightful spring ; 
Oh, pause awhile amid your airy play, 
And hear this truth !— " IT IS NOT ALWAYS 

MAY." 
Not always thus the sun will shine serene, 
And blushing flowrets brighten all the scene : 



54 THE PLEASURES 



Fraught with black stores of elemental strife, 
And parching beams that drink the springs of life, 
See summer comes, while autumn, paces near, 
And fades the glories of the waning year ; 
Stern winter last, with all his clouds and storms, 
O'er nature sweeps and blasts her fairest forms. 

Oh, think ! when youth and health begin to fail, 
When the eye darkens and the cheek turns pale, 
When the head trembles with it's locks of grey, 
And the frail members feel their strength decay; 
Then will ye need some kind and gentle friend, 
Your cares to soften and your wants to tend; 
To ease your pains, to cheer your hours of gloom, 
And smooth the path that leads ye to the tomb ! 
Then seek such friends, and fix them while ye can I 
For ah, how fleeting is the youth of man ! 



O* POSSESSION. 



55 



The blushing rosebud bids the morning hail ; 
O'erblown, 'tis scatter'd in the evening gale : 
The kindling meteor streams athwart the skies, 
Out-flames the stars, but swiftly darts and dies : 
Bright shine the clouds that catch the western ray, 
A moment shine, then sink to evening grey : 
But not the clouds, the meteor or the flower, 
More swiftly fleet than youth's exulting hour. 

Think not, oh friends ! while thus my sober page 
Pourtrays the wants and weaknesses of age, 
That I, estranged from all that's gay, that's glad, 
Would mark your breasts with deep impressions sad; 
No, from these wants, these weaknesses of men, 
Flows a fresh subject for my cheerful pen, 
Still dedicate to pleasure. — Thence are sprung 
A thousand scenes that yet remain unsung. 



56 



THE PLEASURES 



Thence nature's God hath given the human mind 
New joys, more true, more glowing, more refined. 
Thence FILIAL fondness, love PARENTAL flows, 
With warmth FRATERNAL thence the bosom glows, 
Thence FRIENDSHIP sweet derives her mild con- 

troul, 
And thence all-conquering LOVE, the sovereign of 

the soul. 



HAIL FILIAL LOVE ! the friends of Heaven are 
they 
Whose gentle bosoms own thine hallowM sway ; 
Applauding conscience bids their days be blest, 
Sweetens their cares and calms their hours of rest. 
Where is the child who feels no fond desire 
To win the blessing of an aged sire ? 



OF POSSESSION. 57 



Whose bosom heaves with no sensations glad, 
When sick to nurse him, comfort him when sad ? 
Where is the child who would not eager fly- 
To wipe the teardrop from a mother's eye ? 
Who feels not pleased to tend her sickly bed, 
To pillow on his breast her aching head, 
And glows with rapture while for him she prays, 
Invoking health and peace and length of days ? 

Are there such children ? — Heaven defend the bard 
From souls so graceless and from hearts so hard ! 
Sad pass their youth, if any such there are, 
Far from all joy, from sweet contentment far ; 
And when disease and wasting years of care 
Unstring their nerves and thin their hoary hair, 
Then may they pray, but let their prayer be vain, 
For some kind soother of their bed of pain ! 



53 THE PLEASURES 



May they no children round their hearth behold, 
To cheer them, wretched, or support them, old ; 
May none but hirelings round their couch await, 
Who look with cold indifference on their fate; 
May stranger hands their lifeless eyelids close, 
May stranger hands their stiffen' d limbs compose, 
May none with kindred tears bewail their doom, 
And not one friend attend them to the tomb \ 

Of these enough — I choose a softer strain, 
And sing of those who worthier parts sustain. 
In yonder chair beside the blazing fire, 
Reclines the feeble, hoary-headed sire : 
Behold, his lovely daughter, waiting near, 
With lively converse charms his listening ear ; 
With anxious care she marks his rolling e\ • 
Prevents each wish and every want supple 



OF POSSESSION. 59 



I Pleased with her fondness, hark ! in accents mild 
I He thus begins; — '* My hope — my joy — my child — 

{ " My old heart warms to see thee kindly wait 

j 

: " Upon thine aged father's feeble state : 

r While thou art my nurse, in spite of all it's ill, 

" And all its sorrow, life will charm me still. 

j " It is not long since thou wast weak like me, 

" And then I nursed, protected, cherish' d thee ; 

" Oft have I sat and watch'd thine hours of rest, 

" And oft have prest thee, smiling, to my breast. 

u These times are past, and now the change behold, 

" Thou art young and vigorous, I am weak and old ! 

" Heaven bless thee, girl ! for grateful is thine heart, 

" And well thou know'st the duteous daughter's part ; 

n I aided thee when thou had'st need of aid, 

r And now, thank Heaven, my cares are all repaid!" 



60 THE PLEASURES 



He ceased — her arms around his neck she flung, 
As the last accents trembled on his tongue, 
With fervent lip she kist the good old man, 
And down her cheek the tear of transport ran : 

The sire too wept. Ye sons of tumult ! — Ye, 

At folly's shrine who bow the servile knee, 
Who roll the die or drain the midnight bowl, 
And clog the pinions of the aspiring soul; 
Know one short hour of tenderness like this, 
Is worth whole ages of your fancied bliss ! 
All the loud laughs, which mark your mad career, 
Are poor — compared to one extatic tear ! 

HAIL LOVE PARENTAL ! Gift of powers divine, 
Delightful tasks and pleasing cares are thine ! 
Thou grand support of Nature's mighty plan, 
Friend of all tribes, but most the friend of man ; 



OF POSSESSION. 01 



Thou nurse, thou guardian of the infant train, 
Friend of the feeble, pleasant is thy reign ! 
' Thyself art lovely and thy votaries blest, 
j From the poor bird that builds her simple nest 
To shield her offspring ; from the fleecy dam, 
That waxing bold protects her sportive lamb ; 
From the fond hen, who o'er her chicken throws 
Her guardian wings and hides them from their foes, 
To MAN — who, stampt in nature's noblest mould, 
Boasts of his soul of fire, his thoughts sublime and 
bold. 

We'll leave the rest and fix our song on MAN. 
When first the world its airy course began, 
When the first male, by powerful passion led, 
With lovely woman shared his flowery bed, 



62 THE PLEASURES 



As the wing'd moments flew in haste away, 
The first born infant saw the light of day. 
Alas, poor babe ! and wast thou born to bear 
The scorching noon and midnight's chilling air > 
On the cold turf, unaided and alone, 
Pining for food, to raise thy piteous moan, 
Till faint with hunger, worn by constant cries, 
The hand of death for ever seals thine eyes ? 
Unhappy infant ! such had been thy lot, 
And soon the race of man had been forgot, 
But Heaven with pity saw thy helpless state, 
And LOVE PARENTAL came to ease thy fate. 

Blest power ! inspired by thee, the tender pair 
Made the poor babe their most peculiar care : 
The Mother's fostering breast, at thy command, 
Began to yield its balmy treasures bland ; 



of possession. G3 



At thy command the sire, with willing arms, 
Toil'd for them both and guarded both from harms ; 
Their blooming charge they view'd with equal pride, 
Husht all its cries and every want supplied. 

Full many an hour of anxious fear had they, 
And many a restless night and wearying day; 
But Nature, bent the parent's cares to atone, 
Bade their hearts glow with rapture all their own. 
For this she breathed upon the infant face 
The simplest innocence, the purest grace, 
And taught the winning sweetness of it's smile 
To charm all eyes and every heart beguile. 
For this she made its artless lispings dear 
To each warm heart and uncorrupted ear, 
Each gentle blandishment, each eager kiss, 
And every fond embrace she stored with bliss. 



64 THE PLEAStRES 



But some there are, accurst with hearts of stone, 
To whom parental joy is all unknown ; 
With impious care has many a mother dried 
The hallow'd springs that gracious Heaven supplied, 
While from her arms, its rightful home, exiled, 
A stranger's breast has fed the injured child. 
How many a sire, whom earthly cares surround, 
Or glittering fully lures with syren sound, 
All but in name neglects the father's part, 
And feels no father's fondness warm his heart. 

Unnatural parents ! rashly still proceed, 
Nor thoughtful stay the laws of Heaven to heed! 
Go, swell the crowds in Folly's loose abode, 
Go, seek for gold in Fortune's devious road, 
Go, join Ambition in his mad career, 
Nor let the voice of Nature reach j 



OF POSSESSION. 65 



But when Disease shall come, and withering Age, 
And Strength, vain boaster, flies their mingled rage, 
If from your couch your graceless children fly, 
And view your sorrows with unmoisten'd eye, 
Then not to Heaven upraise your piteous moan, 
Nor curse your God for evils all your own. 

On her sick-bed when sad ALICIA lay, 
ALICIA once the thoughtless and the gay, 
Her children, reckless how their parent fared, 
In fortune's wildest revels freely shared : 
By the cold forms of filial duty led, 
One morn she saw them standing round her bed, 
And moved with rage, forgetful of her pain, 
Reproved their coldness, but reproved in vain. 



66 



THE PLEASURES 



" What would you have }" The graceless son replied.. 
" What would you have ? What wants are unsup-^ 

" plied ? 
" Is not each blessing, every comfort your's, 
" That sickness asks or willing wealth procures ? 
" Then why these murmurs ? would you have us stay 
" And nurse the hours of joyous youth away ? 
" When youthful rapture bade your bosom glow, 
'• Did you for us the joys of life forego ? 
u Did you support us from your teeming breast ? 
" And kindly lull us in your arms to rest ? 
a No— heedless still, a life of joy you led 
u While us a stranger nursed, a stranger fed. 
u But youth and health at length have turnM fro© 

« THEE, 
" And lead US on to scenes of mirth and glee ; 



OF POSSESSION. 67 



fl" The fleeting hours forbid our longer stay, 
§ The chariot waits — my sisters, let's away." — 
JHe ceased. — With rage the mother's heart was 

wrung, 
And a dire curse stood trembling on her tongue 
rjBut instant fate the dreadful wrath controul'd; — 
She shriek' d — she fell — her eye-balls widely roll'd— 
But why, a truant from the school of joy, 
Should scenes like this my tragic pen employ ? 
My theme is PLEASURE.— Muse ! arise— relate — 
In gentle strains the kind CORDELIA'S fate ! 

Her youthful cheek with opening roses vied, 
When EDWIN wco'd and won her for his bride; 
Her cheek, still youthful, lost its roseate bloom 
When sad she wept on EDWIN'S early tomb. 



68 THE PLEASURES 



The village bell had ceased its solemn tone, 
And o'er his corse the kindred clay was thrown, 
Night came, with melancholy mantle clad, 
When the poor widow pensive sat and sad ; 
Her orphan train, forgot their hour of sleep, 
Around her hung and wept to see her weep : 
To heaven she turn'd her sadly streaming eyes, 
To heaven her mournful meditations rise, 
In fancy's eye she view'd her EDWIN there 
Beckoning to her the blissful seat to share; 
She call'd on Death, and lo ! in fancy's eye 
Death came to bear her to her kindred sky ; 
O'er all her frame an awful faintness stole, 
And dark oblivion shadow'd o'er her soul, 
Resign'd to fate she lifeless sunk away— 
Her children's shrieks recall'd her back to dav. 



or POSSESSION. 



69 



Sudden she woke — she started from the ground — 
In wild amaze she rolPd her eyes around — 
jSlie saw her babes with frantic grief opprest, 
nd all the MOTHER swell'd her panting breast, 
I'll live for you — I'll live for you," she cried, 
My only solace now, my only pride ; 
Fll live for you — may Heaven reject the prayer 
That call'd for death to ease my weight of care ! 
Look down, my EDWIN, look from realms above 
On these dear pledges of our mutual love, 
u Look smiling down, thy sad CORDELIA see, 
I Who for their sakes delays her flight to thee, 
I Who lives to rear them, nurse, instruct, defend, 
I Their tender mother and their faithful friend \" 



I 

Here strong emotions stopt her faultering tongue, 

And round their necks h£r snowy arms she flung, 



70 THE PLEASURES 



Her heart high-swelling felt a kindly glow, 
And tears of transport chased the tears of woe : 
And from that hour, when grief assail* d the mind 
When foes were powerful and friends unkind, 
When HOPE expiring left the soul in gloom, 
And sickening MEMORY dwelt on EDWIN'S tomb 
She sought her babes, Avith them she found relief, : 
The MOTHER'S RAPTURES eased the WIDOW! 
grief. 

Her prayer was heard, and Heaven prolong' d he. 
date 
To shield her children from the storms of fate ; 
She lived, and many a joy her life inspired 
To see them all a mother's heart desired, 
To see her girls excel in grace of form, 
In charms of face, in hearts with virtue warm ; 



OF POSSESSION. 71 

To see her son the paths of truth pursue, 
I And grow in wisdom as in years he grew. 
I She lived to hail the morn that firmly tied 
His nuptial bands, and bless his lovely bride ; 
She lived, just lived, to greet with tears of joy 
An infant EDWIN, sweetly blooming boy, 
And then she died. — On that afflicting day, 
When cold and pale in death's embrace she lay, 
Around her bed, their eyes with tears bedew'd, 
In speechless agony her children stood. 
A tender friend, who watcht her gasping breath, 
And markt her eyeballs rolling dim in death, 
Who saw the dreadful strife her lips convulse, 
And felt, and scarcely felt, the fluttering pulse, 
Bade the fond youth his mournful task forego, 
And lead his sisters from the scene of woe. 



THE TLEASURES 



' We will not go, 3 ' exclaim'd the grateful son, 
" We will not leave her till the strife is done. 
" My mother ! oh my mother! shall we fly, 
" Too proud, too weak, to see a parent die ? 
" It shall not be — my dearest, kindest friend, 
" Still will thy children round thy bed attend ! 
" We'll stay — we'll stay to catch thy latest breath, 
" Kiss thy cold lips and close thine eyes in death, 
" Then — then we'll leave thee, whije with bursting 



" We swell the gale that wafts thee to the skies." 

Speechless and pale the expiring parent lay, 
Yet reason still retained a feeble sway, 
Her fluttering soul, on wing for realms above, 
Heard the soft sentiments of filial love, 



OF POSSESSION. 73 



And back she flew, enraptured at the sound, 
And bade the heart again with transport bound, 
Bade life resume a momentary reign, 
And flush her cheeks and grace her lips again ; 
She smiled — she spake — she bless' d her faithful boy, 
She bless'd her girls, and wing'd her way with joy : 
Her cheek in death the tender glow retain 'd, 
And e'en in death the smile of bliss remain'd. 

ALL HAIL, FRATERNAL FONDNESS! If hi* 
lays, 
Who loves thee best, can best proclaim thy praise, 
Then may'st thou, gentle power, demand from me 
The sweetest song that e'er was tuned to thee ! 
"Oh, I have felt thine influence pure and warm 
Thrill thro my heart and all my soul inform \ 



74 THE PLEASURES 



Oh, I have seen thee fire the speaking eye, 
Have felt thee breathing in the balmy sigh, 
Have known thy close embrace, thy tender kiss, 
Thy tear of transport and thy smile of bliss ; 
And now, e'en now, thou gentle power benign, 
Now, while I write, behold thy joys are mine ! 
The loved companion of my infant years, 
The partner kind of all my hopes and fears, 
She, on whose breast, when sorrow ruled the mind, 
My drooping head has oft for ease reclined, 
Who oft with me has woo'd the rural muse, 
Mid the thick woods that shade the winding Ouse, 
Or listening sat. thro all the wintry day, 
To some soft tale or sweetly soothing lay, 
She quits the Town her native fields to roam, 
And dwells awhile beneath my humble dome. 



OF POSSESSION. 75 



E'en now she sat attentive by my side 
And fiird my bosom with a poet's pride ; 
Smiling she sat to hear my humble lays, 
And deign'd the subject and the song to praise ! 
But when, in plaintive strain, I strove to tell 
How blest in death the good CORDELIA fell ; 
When o'er the bed her weeping children hung, 
And the last blessings trembled on her tongue, 
She lookt applause, but strove in vain to speak, 
While bursting teardrops streamed adown her cheek: 
And while, with sweet responsive passion warm'd, 
I wept at fiction that myself had form'd, 
With eager love my hand she fondly prest, 
And close I claspt her to my throbbing breast. 
Swift on their downy wings the moments flew, 
And rapture toucht them with a golden hue -, 



76 THE PLEASURES 



Recording MEMORY her pen employs 
To give a faint description of their joys, 
And HOPE, sweet flatterer, points to more a> 

bright, 
That dimly gleam amid the shades of night. 
Haste, swiftly haste, ye moments sweet and gay, 
For life on rapid pinions fleets away ! 
Haste, swiftly haste, your shining wings outspread, 
And breathe your balmy blessings round my head ! 

HAIL, WEDDED LOVE ! Hail, Goddess heaven- 
ly bright, 
Thou sweetest source of man's supreme delight ! 

If one, to whom thy joys are all unknown, 
Might dare with songs approach thy hallowM throne, 
I would approach ; to celebrate thy praise 
Would teach my muse to tune her sweetest lays. 



OF POSSESSION'. 77 



But vain the attempt ; let other bards relate 
The bliss serene that marks the nuptial state ; 
Be their's the song on whom the gracious power 
Has deign* d her sweet celestial gifts to shower, 
Who oft have felt her glad sensations rise, 
Burn in their breasts and sparkle in their eyes, 
That boundless confidence, that tender glow, 
That stills the sigh and dries the tear of woe : 
Be their's the song — unhallow'd I retire, 
To happier hands consign the sacred lyre, 
My humble lays to other powers belong, 
And see where friendship claims the promised song. 

Yet shall I close the theme nor breathe a prayer, 
That I one day thy soft delights may share ? 
It shall not be. — Be kind, thou heavenly power, 
And haste for me to trim the nuptial bower ! 



78 THE PLEASURES 



Meantime may Hope, the balm of human woe, 

Bid my full soul with expectation glow ; 

She, pointing on to pleasure's distant goal, 

Nerves the weak frame and cheers the drooping soul ; 

And, tho to different powers I tune my lay, 

I love her soothing song and smile so gay. 

Then come, sweet nymph, to charm my ravisht 



And talk of lcve and days of fond delight, 
And let thy joys in prospect cheer my breast, 
Till pleased I triumph in the JOY POSSEST. 

HAIL, FRIENDSHIP, thou whose smile divinely fair 
Charms into peace the ruffled front of care, 
To mirth's gay carol gives a sweeter sound, 
And makes more bright the flowers that bloom 
around ! 



OF POSSESSION. 79 



All hail, sweet soother of the painful hour, 
Thou highly prized, thou greatly injured power ! 
Prized by the few, the blest discerning few, 
Who, true to nature and to wisdom true, 
By vice untainted, unallured by pride, 
Cherish unmoved, tho shouting crowds deride, 
Each honest feeling, each affection kind, 
Each generous impulse of the noble mind. 
Injured by those in Folly's giddy train, 
By Fashion's votaries profligate and vain ; 
Strange to the finer feelings of the soul, 
And strange to simple Nature's kind controul, 
Like wanton flies, that rove from flower to flower, 
They change their friends with every changing hour. 
Injured by those who tread the beaten road 
That leads to wealth, and grandeur's proud abode : 



80 THE PLEASURES 



These Interest rules, who rudely snaps in twain 
Each sacred link of Nature's hallow'd chain, 
And forms an union, base, corrupt, and frail, 
That breaks as fortune blows the varying gale. 
Inspired by her they con the graceful bow, 
And smooth to seeming peace the polish' d brow; 
Around the lip delusive smiles are hung, 
And treacherous accents move the pliant tongue ; 
Their leader's praise they shout with loud acclaim. 
And deck the demon with thy sacred name. 
Stand forth, ye noble few, whose hearts of fire 
Accordant vibrate with the poet's lyre, 
Who, while his fingers strike the trembling strings, 
Glow as he glows and feel the joys he sings ; 
Stand boldly forth, to champion Friendship's cause, 
And Nature's pure but violated laws ! 



OP POSSESSION. 



81 



Tell the vain crowd what soft delights, unknown 
To vulgar minds, have warm'd and cheer' d your own ; 
When scenes of rapture all your hours employ, 
Tell them how Friendship heightens every joy ; 
Tell of the warmth that circles round the heart, 
The midnight hour that found ye loth to part, 
And all the bliss that thrills in every vein 
When friends, long absent, meet their friends again. 
Tell them 'tis grateful, when the mind's opprest, 
When hopeless Love distracts the troubled breast, 
When Fortune's chilling frowns affright the soul, 
And angry Fate's tremendous thunders roll, 
To find a friend our drooping souls to cheer, 
And lend our tale of grief a pitying ear : 
For, like the gales of summer, sweetly flow 
Thy strains, O FRIENDSHIP, on the ears of woe ! 

G 



The pleasures 



And when the sad receive the soothing sound, 
Their hearts, new warmM, with sweeter transports 

bound, 
They cease their sighs, awhile their cares forget, 
And cry, Thank Heaven, a friend is left us yet ! 

Now strike the string — another song remains — 
Another song that claims the sweetest strains. 
LOVE is my theme — that pure exalted Love, 
That gentle habitant of realms above, 
Whose influence warms, exalts, refines mankind, 
And fills with virtuous joy the glowing mind ; 
Not that dark power that oft assumes his name, 
And dares his honors and his rights to claim ; 
Whose treacherous smiles the unwary soul allure. 
And turn the erring feet to paths impure ; 



OF POSSESSION. S3 



Who swells the bosom with unholy fires, 

With restless thoughts and wandering wild desires : 

Not to this power I dedicate my song, 

To LOVE, TRUE LOVE my moral lays belong : 

And were I skill'd to touch the Teian lyre, 

Or would the Lesbian Muse my pen inspire, 

O LOVE ! the sweetest hymn should then be thine 

That ever mortal tuned to power divine 



HYMN TO LOVE 

Sweetest source of earthly joy, 
Solace kind of human care, 

LOVE, thou smiling wanton boy, 
Hear, oh hear a votary's prayer 1 



84 THE PLEASURES 



To cheer a poet's humble cot, 
Oh quit thy blissful seats above ; 

Come to bless my lowly lot, 

For what is life without THEE, LOVE ; 

Cheeks that mock the morning rose, 

Smiling lips, and eyes of fire, 
Bosoms white as mountain snows, 

Hearts that burn with pure desire,, 
Bless with these my longing arms, 

I'll envy not the powers above ; 
'Tis these that give to life it's charms, 

For what is life without THEE, LOVE ? 



OF POSSESSION. 85 



But should Fate's severe decree 

Forbid thy glowing joys be mine, 
Come with all thy woes to me, 

And Til for thee the world resign. 
Thy keenest pang, thy deepest sigh 

I'll cherish like the mateless dove, 
Fll kiss the shaft that bids me die, 

For what is life without THEE, LOVE? 

Sweet to the view the scenes of MEMORY rise, 
Like the gay clouds that gild the western skies ; 
Sweet are the dreams of HOPE descending bright, 
Like radiant stars that gem the robes of night ; 
But when, O LOVE! the ardent breast of youth 
Beneath thine influence glows with warmth and truth, 
When joy in wild delirium wraps the brain, 
And thy sweet transports thrill thro every vein, 



66 THE PLEASURES 



Then HOPE and MEMORY must the contest yield, 
And PLEASURE, PRESENT PLEASURE wins 
the field. 

When all the labors of the week are past, 
And, day of rest, the sabbath comes at last, 
With lightsome feet and bounding heart the swain 
Climbs the high hill or trips across the plain ; 
In smiles array'd he meets his destined bride, 
And spends the day enraptured by her side ; 
At eve he walks, and tells his tender tale, 
Down where the blossom'd hawthorn scent the vale. 
Night comes in calmness; bright the evening star 
In stately pace precedes her sable car ; 
Behind, the moon, to grace the gl cne, 

O'er the deep blue majestic glides serene ; 



OF POSSESSION. 87 



Silence and peace, unheard, unseen, in air 
Wave their soft wings around the loving pair, 
On whose lone walk no boisterous tempests rude, 
No sounds ungrateful on their ears intrude. 
Far in the groves retired the nightingale 
With varying note delights the listening vale ; 
With gentle murmurs glides the silver stream, 
Its bright waves glistening in the lunar beam ; 
The clock, scarce heard, proclaims how far they roam 
From the lone cot, the maiden's humble home. 
Slow as they move the sleeping zepyhr springs, 
And flaps the blossoms with it's fluttering wings, 
The waving branches yield a soothing sound, 
And sweet the heavenly fragrance floats around^. 
'Tis all enchantment ! lightly heaves the breast, 
And all the troublous storms are husht to rest ; 



88 THE PLEASURES 



Their thoughts nor PAST nor FUTURE scenes 

employ, 
They live— they triumph in the PRESENT JOY. 

When the young sailor quits his peaceful home, 
O'er trackless seas and various climes to roam, 
How oft, when all his comrades sink to sleep, 
He pensive stands and views the rolling deep, 
While the majestic bark, with sails unfurl'd, 
Sublimely traverses the watery world. 
Him Memory cheers amid the gloom of night 
With many a pictured scene of past delight; 
Now with his friends he sportive trips the plain, 
Or warms him at his father's tire again ; 
Now light at heart the woods and meads he roves 
In soothing converse with the maid he loves; 



of possession. 89 



Sweet Hope the while foretells his labors o'er, 

Wafts him in safety to his native shore, 

And sings of brighter joys and happier days in 

store. 
These cheer his soul, yet when on every side 
He sees the fearful waves extending wide, 
And when he thinks how many a dreary day, 
IJow many a dismal night must pass away 
Ere his loved home will greet his anxious eye, 
He strikes his breast and heaves a mournful sigh. 
As the lone wanderer of the Arabian wild 
Feels his sad sufferings only half beguiled, 
When o'er the burning sand his eager eyes 
See distant far the blasted thorn arise 
That tells him, fainting in the sultry beam, 
Where from the rock distils the cooling stream ; 



90 THE PLEASURES 



E'en so the eager wish, the intense desire, 
The syren Hope's enchanting songs inspire, 
Did in his heart a mixt emotion reign, 
The child of pleasure, but allied to pain. 
But when at length, his tedious wanderings o'er, 
He leaps exulting on his native shore, 
And when, adorn'd in all her wonted charms, 
He clasps his future consort in his arms, 
Then glows his breast with bliss without alloy, 
UNRIVALLT) HAPPINESS, UNBOUNDED 
JOY. 

The gentle HENRY, fond and faithful youth, 
For ANNA sigb/d with tenderness and truth. 
A mind with science stored, a heart sincere, 
A hand for toil, for misery a tear, 



OF POSSESSION. 91 



Was all he had : his native woods among 
He woo'd the Muse that gives the rural song ; 
Nor woo'd in vain ; with many a tender tale, 
Or lively verse he charm'd his native vale. 
While lovely ANNA heard and praised his lay, 
His heart was happy and his songs were gay ; 

iBut when her sire their rising loves forbad, 
Then sunk his heart and all his songs were sad. 
With her no more along the vale he stray'd, 
Or crost the hills or sat beneath the shade, 
But all alone, throughout the cheerless day, 
He pensive sigh'd the tedious hours away ; 
And oft at midnight, when the storm was loud 
And black the skies with many a mantling cloud, 
O'er the bleak hills with lonely steps he past 
And told his sorrows to the driving blast. 



THE PLEASURES 



So past the time. — At length a friend convey' d 
This tender billet to the lovely maid. 
" Anna, thou know'st my heart, nor need my tongue 
Declare how much Fve loved thee and how long ; 
My boast is this, a sad, a lingering year 
Has tried my faith, and proved that faith sincere. 
No other love my constant heart has known, 
It beats, my ANNA, — beats for thee alone. 
Such is thy HENRY— doubly blest if thine— 
Thy heart — has beat in unison with mine : 
This would I try. — Within our favorite grove 
Where oft I trembling told my tales of love, 
Down where the beech that overhangs the stream 
Has oft secured us from the solar beam, 
There in that spot to-morrow will I stay 
From noon till evening closes in the day ; 



OP POSSESSION. 9S 



Oh ! if thou e'er hast loved, or lovest me now, 
Grant my request and to that spot come thou ! 
Oh come, dispel my doubts, relieve my pain, 
Oh come, and prove I have not sigh'd in vain ! 
Thy love thus known, with patience will I wait 
For some kind turn of now unfavoring fate, 
And live on hope till, moved by faith like mine. 
Thy sire relenting joins my hand to thine : 
But if thou comest not, from my native shore 
I swiftly haste and ne'er shall see thee more ; 
No winds shall e'er rewaft me o'er the wave, 
Resolved in distant climes to seek an early grave/' 

The morrow came ; opprest with doubt and care. 
From morn till evening HENRY waited there ; 
To pass the time he strove in artless lays 
To sing in HOPE'S, to sing in MEMORY'S praise. 



94 THE PLEASURES 



At length the western hills obscured the day, 
And the high tree-tops caught his latest ray, 
When, as he sat dejected and alone, 
Along the path with faded leaves bestrown 
He heard a footstep : high his bosom beat 
As wild he started from his mossy seat : 
'Twas she ! — 'twas ANNA ! — thro the path he flew, 
And round her neck his arms enraptured threw ; 
u Enough," he cried, " I feel most perfect bliss ;" 
Ah ! what is MEMORY, what is HOPE to this ? 
That bids me think of when we sigh'd in vain, 
This says, you'll part, but part to meet again. 
Cease, MEMORY, cease, I will not turn mine eyes 
To *ee your scene in distant prospect rise ; 
Some may be gay, but many a cankering care, 
And many a sigh, and many a tear are there ! 



OF POSSESSION. 95 



Cease, HOPE, nor call the future hours along, 
I will not hearken to thy syren song, 
Bright is the prospect, cheerful is the scene, 
But doubt, despair, and death may intervene ! 
Then MEMORY cease/and cease enchantres bright, 
Your airy visions yield not now delight ; 
In calmer hours your humble charms might please, 
But what are humble channs in hours like THESE ? 
Here, at this moment, would I take my stand, 
My ANNA 's here, I press her yielding hand ; 
On this fond breast, her maiden coyness fled, 
In gentle confidence she rests her head ; 
She owns her love ! the sound my bosom cheers ; 
Sweet sound, for ever vibrate in my ears ! 
My ANNA's here — I throw me at her feet— 
SHE'S HERE— can MEMORY boast of aught so 
sweet ? 



96 THE PLEASURES OF POSSESSION. 

SHE'S HERE — nay tell me not of JOYS IN 

STORE- 
FEN NOW SHE'S HERE— I hope, I wish no more ; 
I ask no FUTURE, I regret no PAST, 
FOR EVER MAY THE PRESENT MOMENT 

LAST!" 



97 



NOTES 



FIRST PART. 



NOTE 1. Verse 89. 

Substantial joys, that yield a brighter glow 
Than all that HOPE or MEMORY can bestow. 

Whence arises the maxim that anticipated plea- 
sures are always the sweetest ? Let the proud, the 
designing, the ill-tempered answer the question for 
themselves. The virtuous, the simple, the feeling 
heart, which enters into society to be pleased, 
which joins without fastidiousness in the amuse- 

H 



98 NOTES ON 



ments which are offered it, and which gives itself 
up without reserve to the feelings of friendship, 
affection and love, will not deny the superior 
charms of pleasures in possession: let not such 
therefore receive, as generally true, a maxim esta- 
blished by characters the very converse of their 
own. 

NOTE 2. Verse 235. 

Nor those who deign the pale and sallow hue, ii.c 

" Delicacy is not debility, nor must a woman be 
aick in order to please. Infirmity and sickness may 
excite our pity ; but desire and pleasure require 
the bloom and vigor of health." Rousseau. 



THE FIRST PART. 99 

NOTE 3. Verse 291. 
And now, ye masters, spread your genial stores, Sec. 

The author sees with grief the attempts which 
are daily making to abridge the pleasures of the hum- 
bler classes of society ; and it would make him most 
happy if his feeble call should have power enough 
to check this unjust and unfeeling invasion of their 
rights. The suppression of \ice is the pretence, 
from which much of this abridgement has arisen ; 
but there is another motive which is operating 
widely. The harvest supper, a scene of festivity 
which has existed from the earliest ages, is now 
not unfrequently dispensed with, from motives of 
convenience to the master and mistress, or under 



100 NOTES ON 



the pretence of studying the interest of the la- 
borer ; who, instead of his wonted night of feast- 
ing and merriment, is sent to his miserable home 
with a paltry pittance of money, which he receives 
without thanks, as it deprives him of almost 
only night of pleasure which the tedious, toilsome 
year affords him. 



NOTE 4. Verse 297. 

And should you chance among your friends to find 
Some gentle soul, some lover of mankind ; &c. 

Lavater says with truth that " He who partakes 
in another's joys is a more humane character than 
he who partakes in his griefs." There are few of 
us who are altogether insensible to the sufferings 



THE FIRST PART. 101 



of others, but there are not many who sincerely 
sympathize in their joys. It may perhaps be 
affirmed that he who contributes to the pleasures 
of those around him, who finds occasion to esta- 
blish some day of festivity and rejoicing, who pro- 
motes the frolic and inspires the dance, adds more 
to the stock of human happiness than he who 
watches over the bed of sickness, or satisfies the 
cravings of hunger. 

NOTE 5. Verse 343. 

More favor'd bards have sung in loftier song*, 
The lord's oppiessions and the servant's wrongs. 

How few are there among the numerous ad- 
mirers of THE DESERTED VILLAGE, who have 
attended to the excellent political and moral lessons 



102 NOTES OX 



whicli it inculcates. They admire the descrip- 
tions of the clergyman, the schoolmaster, and the 
alehouse ; but his phillipics against luxury and fac- 
titious joys, his praise of the simpler amusements 
of the village, his description of the mansion that 
" Indignant spurns the cottage from the green/' 
his account of the rural virtues leaving the land, 
and above all the noble lines which conclude the 
poem, are read and praised by thousands who 
never consider their truth or their importance. 

NOTE 6. Verse 413. 

Then oft by force the nuptial band is tied. 

An extraordinary instance of compulsive mar- 
riage was lately recorded in the papers. A man, 



• THE FIRST PAW. 103 

who was to be married by the parish to a woman who 
was pregnant by him, on the appointed morning 
absconded. A constable was sent in search of him* 
by whom he was discovered and drag'd to the 
altar. The ceremony was performed, but the 
loathing bridegroom had no sooner quitted the 
church than he again ran away, declaring that he 
would never more see the face of her to whom he 
had just sworn eternal fidelity. Thus was the Su- 
preme Being invoked in the most solemn manner 
to witness vows which were never intended to be 
performed. In this case will the guilt of perjury 
rest solely on the head of him who was thus reluc- 
tantly drag'd to the altar, or will a share of the 
crime be laid on the officers who forced him there 
and on the priest who, knowing the circumstances. 



104 NOTLS ON 



did not hesitate in performing the ceremony which 
thus profaned the temple of his God ? 

But the institutions of men are perpetually at 
variance with the laws of nature : if we see some 
forced into an union which they loathe, we some- 
times see an outrage of a different nature com- 
mitted on the feelings of humanity. I knew a la- 
borer who had long- courted a young woman whom 
he loved very tenderly, who was threatened with 
the heaviest vengeance of the parish officers if he 
ever dared to marry, because, as he was not a heal- 
thy man, he would, they said, be only bringing a 
burthen upon the parish": and lately a soldier was 
tried by a court martial and severely flog'd for 
marrying without the consent of bis command- 
ing officer ! 



THE FIRST PART. 



105 



NQTE 7. Verse 429. 
Nor heed, defended by their castle walls. 

An objection, not without reason, has been start- 
ed to the above line. The author's fondness for 
the good old English maxim, that every man's 
house is his castle, must be his apology for retain 
ing it. It is a maxim which cannot be too often 
repeated ; in common with some others which our 
ancestors toil'd and bled to establish, it ought to be 
deeply engraven on every Englishman's heart. 



The Hymn to Love, in the Second Part of this 
Poem, is set to Music, and Sold by the Publisher, 
at No. 7, Upper Mary-le-Bone Street. 



107 



NOTES 



XTN THE 



SECOND PART. 



"llow few the comforts of the peasant's cot, 
And how his rural sports are all forgot. 

The author cannot help recurring here to a sub- 
ject which was shortly treated of in the notes to the 
first part of the poem, the encroachments which, 
I under the pretence of suppressing vice, the fanatic, 
the hypocrite, and sometimes the well-meaning 
but mistaken moralist, are daily making on the plea- 
sures and amusements of the poor. Misguided or 



V 



103 NOTES ON 



unfeeling men ! when you have succeeded in your 
attempts, when you have abolished the village fair 
and check' d the sports on the green, when you 
have stopped the dance and silenced the song of 
the cottager, what will ye have gained for the 
cause of morality? Nothing — worse than nothing. 
You will have changed the manners and the cha- 
racters of your victims, but you will not have les- 
sened the number or the magnitude of their vices. 
You will have converted the honest, the cheerful, 
the warm-hearted peasant, into a morose, unsocial, 
unthankful, designing villain. Worn down by unre- 
mitting toil, a stranger to scenes of gaiety and mirth, 
his heart is never warmed into affection, nor expand- 
ed into benevolence ; his brow becomes contracted 
with care, and his temper soured by discontent. 



THE SECOND PART. 109 

He toils fur you without willingness, and receives 
your wages without gratitude. He feels no interest 
lj in your welfare, and no sympathy in your misfor- 
>j tunes. Forbidden to pass his evenings in cheerful- 
ness with the companions of his youth, he is found 
lurking about your habitation in the dark, seeking 
either to plunder the master, or to debauch the 
maid ; or perhaps, planning both these crimes, he 
succeeds during their secret conference in making 
the victim of his lust become the accomplice of his 
robbery. Thus debased, he at length becomes 
worthy of the hatred with which he has ever in- 
spired you. But hated and despised, he hates and 
despises in return; and in the hour of tumult, of 
danger, and distress, you may perhaps become 






110 NOTES ON 



the victim of those dark and dreadful passions, the 
seeds of which yourselves have sown in his bosom. 

NOTE 2. Verse 185. 
For this she breathed upon the infant face, &c 

u Keep him at least three paces distant/' says- 
Lavater, " who hates bread, music, and the laugh- 
of a child." Cold indeed must be the hearts, and 
corrupted the minds of those to whom the innocent 
smiles, and the artless lispings of children convey 
no sensations of pleasure. 

NOTE 3. Verse 213. 

Then not to heaven upraise your piteous moan, 
Nor curse your God for evils all your own. 

" Those parents," says Johnson, " have most re- 



THE SECOND PART. Ill 

verence who most deserve it." Parents, when they 
read lessons upon filial duty to their children, 
should recollect that there are also parental duties 
which are of equal, if not of greater importance. 
Let them recollect too that, agreeable to the maxim 
quoted above, those who perform these duties con- 
scientiously and properly, are but rarely cursed 
with disobedient and ungrateful children. 

NOTE 4. Verse 4S9. 

And were I skill'd to touch the Teian lyre, 
Or would the Lesbian Muse my pen inspire. 

Teos was the birth-place of Anacreon, and Les- 
bos that of the poetess Sappho. 



112 



NOTES ON THE SECOND PART. 



NOTE 5. Verse 533. 

At Eve he walks and tells his tender tale, 

Down where the blossom'd hawthorn scents the vale. 



" If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare, 

" One cordial in this melancholly vale, 

" "Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair. 

* f In others arms breathe out the tender tale, 

* Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the 



evening gale." 



Burns. 



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